Throughout history, Sotols have provided man with material for structures, roofs, baskets, mats, ropes, food and even liquor (“sotol”). Big Bend and the south western Texas area is home to the Sotol plant. The flower stalk is lightweight and strong, making it a great walking stick.
Our new friends spend a good deal of their down time making walking sticks out of the Sotol and other plant/tree material. Half the fun is the hunt for the perfect “stick” and we were determined to harvest our own. We spent one afternoon on a quest for our walking sticks, which were obtained from locations outside of the National Park, as it is illegal to collect anything from the National Park.
The steps of making a walking stick include stripping the leaves, sanding the stalk, making the hand hold, staining (if desired), and stringing the hand hold.
John shows Kim the finer points about carving designs, as she wanted to add a Texas star to her walking stick. Larry works dilligently in the background on one of his many creations.
The final step in the process is coating the Sotol with polyurethane for protection. Once dry we will be able to add other design elements. We are excited to add our first hiking medallions from Big Bend National Park and look forward to collecting others from the parks we have yet to visit.